Here's what reporters, deejays, rock stars, and super-cool
Hollywood directors are saying about Richard Cheese, his fabulous CDs, and
his hundreds of swingin' concerts!
The Power Of Cheese
Arts & Entertainment
The Wall Street Journal, Page D11, 05/20/2009
(see complete article at:
"Young lady, get in front of these guys. Right in front, sweetheart," singer
Richard Cheese directed a fan at his Webster Hall show here in mid-April. "We
have a gender problem," continued Mr. Cheese, gazing with exaggerated
disapproval at the heavy concentration of males arrayed before him. "Dude. Dude.
Dude. Dude," he counted before launching into a cover of the Beastie Boys' hit
"Brass Monkey." Hoisting beers and camera phones, the crowd of 1,000, mostly in
their 20s and 30s, gleefully sang along.
But someone had been monkeying big-time with that brass monkey, funky monkey.
What had started life as a classic hip-hop song became, in Mr. Cheese's
interpretation, a jaunty, up-tempo number that seemed tailor-made for a
finger-snapping Jack Jones or Vic Damone.
Such is Mr. Cheese's game: presenting very skillful Las Vegas lounge-style
versions of punk, rap, heavy-metal and rock songs by the likes of Nirvana, Guns
N' Roses, Britney Spears, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead -- with the often lewd
lyrics completely intact. The rap number "Baby Got Back," by Sir Mix-A-Lot, as
covered by Mr. Cheese and his back-up group, Lounge Against the Machine, became
a song for swingin' lovers, while U2's impassioned anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
morphed into a mambo with Mr. Cheese singing some of the lyrics in Spanish.
"How ya doing, kids?" he asked with all the sincerity of a used-car salesman.
"We're going to take a short break." Beat. Beat. "We're back!" And now for a
by Ken Fallin
rendition of the theme from the '70s sitcom "Three's Company,"
a little bonbon included on Mr. Cheese's seventh album, "Dick at Nite"
(Coverage). He's currently in the middle of a tour to support album number
eight, "Viva La Vodka" (Coverage), a compilation of live performances -- among
them what one listener referred to as "swankified" takes of "Toxic," originally
performed by Britney Spears, and "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls.
Richard Cheese is the alter ego of comedian and striver Mark Jonathan Davis, 43,
who's offering up a variation on Nick Winters, the lounge lizard conjured by
Bill Murray on "Saturday Night Live," and Darlene and Jonathan Edwards, a
lounge-act parody conjured in the '50s by jazz singer Jo Stafford and her
orchestra-leader husband Paul Weston.
For Mr. Davis, the word "cheese" pretty much says it all. "I guess it's the idea
that lounge music is kind of cheesy," he said in an interview after the show.
"When I chose the name of the character, I wanted to communicate that it was
sort of a joke. But Richard Cheese doesn't know it's a joke. He's kind of
clueless," added Mr. Davis, who extended the jape to include the members of his
band: pianist Bobby Ricotta (Noel Melanio) and drummer Frank Feta (Brian
Fishler), collaborators with the boss on the shrewd musical arrangements, and
bass player Billy Bleu (Ron Belcher). Through the years there's also been Chazz
American, Wayne String, Gordon Brie and Buddy Gouda.
Suffice it to say that in the decade since Mr. Cheese began spreading his magic
-- CD sales total 170,000 -- fans have milked the dairy angle for all it's
worth. "We played a show in Boston last year and a guy showed up in a cow
costume," Mr. Davis said. "We have people show up wearing those hats shaped like
cheese wedges. They'll say 'if I'm in your band I'm going to be Peter
"Different people focus on different aspects of the act," Mr. Davis continued.
"Some people latch on to the cheese part. Some people like the fact that we have
a jazz trio. Some people are big fans of the original artists -- they show up
with a variety of tattoos and body piercings. I welcome them all. I just wish
there were more girls."
The younger of two children, Mr. Davis grew up in Phoenix where after high
school he began volunteering at the local top-40 radio station, KZZP-FM. A paid
part-time job contributing song and commercial parodies followed, with Mr. Davis
eventually working his way up to producer of a morning show. He moved to Los
Angeles in 1990 for another radio job, then found his way to KROQ-FM, better
known as K-Rock, and began developing the character that became Richard Cheese.
"I had created Paul, a 55-year-old who worked as an intern at the station," said
Mr. Davis. "It was a rock station, so of course a 55-year-old guy shouldn't be
working there. He was always trying to convince the producers to play Sinatra
"I came in one day and said 'let me have the guy sing Sinatra versions of K-Rock
songs,'" added Mr. Davis, who stitched together a medley of tunes -- Duran
Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf"; Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away"; The
Clash's "Rock the Casbah" -- done in swing style.
When it comes to choosing material, Richard Cheese wants a tune with that
certain je ne sais quoi -- a song that if not a standard today will surely be a
standard tomorrow. So bring on "Gin & Juice" by Snoop Doggy Dogg and "War
Ensemble" by Slayer.
As for Mr. Davis, "I want a song that everyone recognizes, something that has
lyrics that are rather ridiculous when sung in a lounge style. And I want our
version to be as good as or better than the original."
The groups whose songs Mr. Cheese has covered seem to enjoy the joke mightily.
"We met U2 the year our first CD came out, and I gave a copy to Bono," said Mr.
Davis, referring to the leader of the Dublin rock group. "He instantly got what
we were doing." The heavy-metal group, Disturbed, whose "Down With the Sickness"
turned up "swankified" in the movie "Dawn of the Dead," are fans. So are the
guys in the band Rush, "which is amazing and wonderful," added Mr. Davis.
"People love it when you sing their songs. Not only do they make a little money
off it, it's a tribute."
And in return let us pay tribute to Mr. Cheese: He has unquestionably fulfilled
his stated ambition of being the loudest lounge singer in America. Actually,
this has less to do with his warbling than his wardrobe. Among his nine tuxedos
is a shiny silver number, a cocktail print, a Hawaii print and a tiger stripe.
This is Mr. Cheese's farewell tour with Lounge Against the Machine, Mr. Davis
insists. "I have some other things I want to do with recording and performing,"
he said, mentioning a Richard Cheese documentary, a forthcoming Hawaiian-themed
album, "Lavapalooza," as well as an album of contemporary rock songs repurposed
as serious ballads.
Richard Cheese can undoubtedly go on swinging as long as there are songs to
sing. Mr. Davis, not so much. "I want to keep things interesting for our fans,"
he said. "This is something I love doing, but everyone has to grow."
Ms. Kaufman writes about culture and the arts for the Journal.
"...The most ironic tribute act on the planet"
--Leslie Gornstein, The Los Angeles Times, 03/04/2004
DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER / MTV.COM
'Watchmen' Director Zack
Snyder Reaches For A Slice Of Cheese
MTV News guest columnist has music on the brain as
he wraps shooting the hugely anticipated superhero flick.
--Zack Snyder, guest columnist, mtv.com, 01/30/2008
(see complete article at:
Zack Snyder is the acclaimed director of "300" and "Dawn of the Dead."
His forthcoming "Watchmen" project, adapted from the long-worshipped graphic
novel, is one of the most highly anticipated superhero projects in years.
Snyder is also an occasional guest columnist for MTV.com.
"The Irony of Cheese"
I just realized that quite a bit of time had gone by since I last ranted about
anything on MTVNews.com, so I thought I better get to it.
At the moment, I'm in the final weeks of shooting "Watchmen," in Vancouver,
British Columbia. Since "Watchmen" is a dissection of the superhero genre
and forces it to take a long, hard look into the pop-culture mirror, it only
makes sense that it's where my head is at these days. With that in mind, I
started thinking about music and whether there were any parallels that could be
drawn. Enter Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. Although
tonally they are vastly different in many ways, the film and the Cheese-y music
share an in-your-face look at the world, calling bullshit on pop culture in an
For the unfamiliar, Richard Cheese (also known as Dick Cheese) is a Los Angeles
singer and comedian. He and his cover band, Lounge Against the Machine —
which features Gordon Brie, Frank Feta and Bobby Ricotta — have spent the last
10 years satirizing the pop songs that assault our ears day in and day out,
every time we turn on our radios. Don't get me wrong, I have my own
musical guilty pleasures (don't think for a second I'm going to divulge them
here), but it never ceases to amaze me the range of songs that can race to the
top of the charts and stay there indefinitely, some offering almost nothing of
substance, while others are bound to be future classics. Richard Cheese
seems to have a similar fascination with both the good and the bad that fill the
airwaves. He refuses to lie down and accept the pageantry, attitude,
emotion, chords, alliteration and sometimes sheer absurdity of today's music at
face value. Covering everything from Nirvana's "Rape Me" to 2 Live Crew's
"Me So Horny" to the "Three's Company" theme song, he chooses to engage songs by
recording hilarious and, in my opinion, genius lounge-style renditions.
I've been a fan of Richard Cheese for a long time, so naturally he's in my
mental Rolodex when I started thinking about music for my movies. When I
was looking for tracks for the "Dawn of the Dead" soundtrack, it was important
to me that the music reinforce the film's underlying desire to break conventions
and not be limited by the expectations placed on the film because of its roots
in the genre world. Too often I think studios and filmmakers have a
preconceived notion of what audiences' expectations will be based on a film's
genre. I believe this approach often sets a course that funnels many
projects down a familiar pathway with comfortable choices and safe decisions.
I'll be the first to admit that sometimes this actually works, creating
cinematic "comfort food" that delivers and satisfies. But more often than
not, it leaves me as a viewer dissatisfied, wanting more and wishing I didn't
know what was waiting for me around every corner. That is why I like
creating projects that are self-aware. In my opinion, the trick is being
self-aware without becoming self-conscious, having an awareness of a project's
roots, but not being stifled by the typical genre pre-conceptions. I
always say it was important to me while making "Dawn of the Dead" to "have fun
with," but not "make fun of," the zombie and horror genres.
Which brings me back to Richard Cheese. When I was cutting the scene in
"Dawn of the Dead" where we find our survivors passing the time while trapped in
the mall together, I immediately thought of Richard Cheese and his cover of the
Disturbed song "Down With the Sickness." Don't get me wrong; I knew the
typical song choice for that moment could have easily been the original version
of the song. Ripe with all its testosterone-driven badass attitude and
pounding drums, the original would have suited a montage of our characters that
portrayed them as defiantly shrugging off the surrounding dangers. But, in
this particular instance, I think it would have been the wrong message.
There is an obvious symbolic lyrical "illness" tie-in, but more importantly, I
was depending on the irony found in the lounge rendition of the song to play
through. So, I dropped it into the cut, stepped back and let it play.
There was something ironic as I watched the characters, in the dire situation
they were, passing the time ever so casually in the face of a zombie apocalypse.
Exposing these very alive people as strangely similar to the mindless creatures
surrounding the mall, the song helped to reinforce the tone of the moment.
It was the perfect fit. Even in the face of a potentially world-ending
plague, they are still drawn to the mundane.
In many ways, this is what Richard Cheese is all about: Peeling away the
tough, polished exterior of a song dressed in its most aggressive riff or
eardrum-rattling bass and exposing it to its core. He has the ability to
look in the pop-culture mirror and see both the good and the bad and, without
discriminating, have fun dissecting both. After all, what's not to like
about a swanky lounge version of Slayer's "War Ensemble"?
Then again, that's just my opinion. Check him out yourself ...
RC says: HOLY SHIT!
The Biggest Dick in Phoenix
Richard Cheese at Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, June 7
Up On The Sun, New Times, Phoenix 06/08/2008
(see complete article at:
Back in mid-1996, Zach de la Rocha
and the rest of Rage Against the Machine ruled the alt-rock world, with stations
like The Edge (then on 106.3/100.3 FM) broadcasting the foursome’s aggro
agitprop songs from their second album Evil Empire on seemingly an hourly basis.
In those pre-iPod days, the radio dial in my ’88 Ford Escort was usually tuned
to The Edge, and after hearing about how “tha power dons” were rallying ‘round
the family with a pocket full of shells for like the 999,999th time in a single
day, I thought to myself, “I wonder what ‘Bulls on Parade’ would sound like as a
It wasn’t a cure for cancer or anything, but I thought it’d be pretty snazzy to
neuter such a fiercely aggressive jam by rendering it as a jazzy, torched-out
number with plenty of call-and-response. But like many random thoughts and
ideas, this one was filed away in the back reaches of the mind under the “maybe
someday, if you’ve got the time” header.
Fast forward to 2002, when I first heard Richard Cheese croon out his loungy,
parody version of Disturbed’s violently hostile chart-topper “Down with the
Sickness,” and felt very much like the schnook in those invention-patenting
commercials who failed to secure the rights to his new pasta pot, or some such
device that could’ve made him a fortune.
“Damn,” I thought, recalling my scheme of six years ago. “Somebody beat me to
[photo caption: Richard Cheese, lampooning lounge-pimp extraordinaire.
(Turns out Cheese wasn’t the only one to give birth to the same brain child, as
the Mike Flowers Pops over in England and Australia’s Frank Bennett have been
doing jazzy send-ups of pop and rock hits since the mid-90s).
But despite the fact I was suffering from a bad case of “woulda-shoulda-coulda,”
I became an ardent fan of Cheese and his slick-sounding spoofs of rock, pop, and
hip-hop anthems, and was very much looking forward to the lounge lampoon’s
concert at the Celebrity Theatre. It’d be my last chance to watch the big Dick
in action, as the singer was billing the current “Lounge the Vote” tour as a
swan song to live performances due to “vocal chord problems,” and the concert
didn’t disappoint in the least.
The sell-out crowd was already feeling in the mood for swing and swank thanks to
a smokin’ opening set by Phoenix jazz ensemble Sonorous (who were joined at one
point by songstress Lonna Kelley), but when Cheese strode onto the Celebrity’s
round stage with the three members of backing band Lounge Against the Machine,
things really got rolling. Carrying an oversized martini glass with him (and
getting plenty of hoots from the audience as a result of the prop), the singer
started off with his comical versions of Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer” and
Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass.” He scatted and snapped his way through the
vulgar-sounding numbers with style, transforming the venue into a gonzo version
of some smoky, barely-lit lounge.
[photo: Bill Murray ain't got nothin on Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.]
He seemed extra jazzed for the show, considering he was performing for his
hometown crowd. Cheese is originally from the Valley
and wore his Arizona affiliation on his sleeve by dropping references to local
radio stations and businesses (even singing a loungy version of the jingle for a
local Berge/Mazda/Volkswagen dealership). He also gave plenty of shout-outs to
friends and family in attendance, including his parents.
“Is everybody drunk? Are my parents in the back already drunk?” Cheese asked the
crowd. “Somebody get them a drink. My mom likes a good Vodka and Geritol.”
After a few profanity-laced songs, the swinging satirist made some amusing
apologies to his folks for all his ribald and racy rantings. Later, he also
presented his parents with a what appeared to be a fancy cake and fruit salad in
honor of the upcoming Father’s Day holiday while LATM performed a dad-oriented
song, which turned out to be the “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back.
[photo caption: Get up, come on get down with the dickness.]
But the audience got more than just aptly-timed recyclings of sci-fi themes, as
the Cheese and company managed to jam more than 30 songs into a two-hour show
(albeit some in abbreviated form) and gave ‘em more than their money’s worth.
The set list featured a large number of TV themes (The Brady Bunch, Three’s
Company, Aqua Teen Hunger Force), owing to the fact that Cheese’s latest disc
Dick at Night is filled with said songs. He even gave another nod to the Valley
by belting out the theme to 80s sitcom Alice, which was set in the PHX.
Like any good lounge singer, Cheese knew how to the work the room, and did so
with snazzy style. Ever the showman, Cheese also had his between-song (and even
in-song) patter down pat. He moved through the aisles at various points,
interacting with the crowd, humorously hitting on married women in front of
their husbands, or dragging audience members up to the stage (including bringing
three bro’s in tuxedo tee shirts up to dance with him, Rockettes-style, to “Down
with the Sickness”).
[photo caption: This shot ain’t from the Celebrity show, but it illustrates how Cheese gets
audience members (particularly the female ones) to demonstrate how much they
In order to stave off drunken requests for songs from being shouted out during
the affair (which they were anyway), Cheese also placed a “suggestion box” made
from tiger skin-like fabric (natch) at the edge of the stage.The dapper dood
also changed his tux jacket three times during the concert, switching from basic
black to one covered in martini glasses, then a faux tiger skin model, and
finally a more silvery deal.
Other hilarious hi-jinks included:
-- Before performing audience favorite “Baby Got Back,” he pulled one
bootylicious lady onto the stage and requesting she use the mic stand as a
-- During a performance of the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants, Cheese had some
in the first few rows blow bubbles and asked everyone else to wave their arms
around like kelp.
-- After performing a medley of Beastie Boy songs (“Brass Monkey”/“So Whatcha
Want”/”Sabotage”), Cheese noticed some 14-year-olds in one of the front rows and
asked them if they’d heard of the Beastie Boys. “Tell you what, go out and buy
Ill Communication, Check Your Head, and Hello Nasty and you’ll get laid next
year like that,” he said.
-- In the middle of the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha,” Cheese began doing
hilariously spot-on impersonations of how singers like Bob Dylan, Michael
McDonald, or Bjork would sing the song.
(We really wish we had some pictures to show you of the some of these
shenanigans, but the singer hates having snapshots taken of him during gigs, so
the photo Nazis, err…ushers repeatedly put the smackdown on anyone daring to
raise a camera).
Cheese finally wrapped up the show around 11 p.m. after a three-song encore,
thanking us for helping “spread the Cheese” and finished with a rendition of the
chorus from “Viva
Las Vegas Phoenix.” If it indeed was his final show in
Phoenix, (and not just some marketing ploy), it was a helluva way to go out.
Personal bias: I wish I owned a swank tiger skin tux and an oversized martini
Better than: Hanging out with the dicks in Scottsdale.
“I think Richard Cheese is the new Danny Elfman.”
Random detail: Before Cheese took the stage, the P.A. system was playing the
original versions of many of the songs he’s parodied, including Limp Bizkit’s
“Nookie,” Green Day’s “American Idiot,” and Beastie Boys “Brass Monkey.”
Set list (and the originators of each song):
1. “Closer” (Nine Inch Nails)
2. “Shake Ya Ass” (Mystikal)
3. “Another Brick in the Wall” (Pink Floyd)
4. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (AC/DC)
5. “Smack My Bitch Up” (Prodigy)
6. “War Ensemble” (Slayer)*
7. “Crazy Bitch” (Buckcherry)
8. “Indiana Jones theme” (John Williams)**
9. “Brass Monkey”/“So Whatcha Want”/”Sabotage” (Beastie Boys)
10. “Ice Ice Baby” (Vanilla Ice)
11. “Theme from Three’s Company” (Joe Raposo)
12. “Me So Horny” (2 Live Crew)
13. “99 Luftballons” (Nena)*
14. “Airbag” (Radiohead)
15. “Theme song from Alice” (Linda Lavin)
16. “Gin & Juice” (Snoop Dogg)
17. Medley of tidbits of audience-requested songs, including “White Room”
(Cream), “Hollaback Girl” (Gwen Stefani), “P.W.A.” (5th Ward Boyz), “Hot For
Teacher” (Van Halen), “My Humps” (Black Eye Peas), “Theme from The Love Boat”
(Jack Jones), and “Amie” (Pure Prairie League)*
18. “Chop Suey” (System of a Down)
19. Jingle for Clorox 2 (“Mama’s got the magic of Clorox 2”)*
20. “Theme from SpongeBob SquarePants” (Patrick Pinney)
21. “Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor)**
22. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana)
23. “Toxic” (Britney Spears)
24. “Don't Cha” (Pussycat Dolls)
25. “Baby Got Back” (Sir Mix-A-Lot)
26. “Theme from Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (Schoolly D)
27. “Theme from The Brady Bunch” (Sherwood Schwartz)
28. “Imperial March” (John Williams)**
29. “People Equals Shit” (SlipKnot)
30. “You're the Inspiration” (Chicago)
31. Encore: “Down with the Sickness” (Disturbed)
32. Encore: “Careless Whisper” (George Michael)
33. Encore: “Creep” (Radiohead)
34. Encore: “Viva Las Vegas Phoenix” (Elvis Presley)*
* Abbreviated version of the song
--Las Vegas Mercury, April 2003
"Lounge singer extraordinaire"
(see complete article on our INTERVIEWS page in this
"Although we have mixed feelings about this
kind of shit, we couldn't help but be amused...."
--Eric Frigo, Revolver Magazine, May 2003
"This processed cheese
has Richard taking alternative rock songs, smothering
them in new arrangements, and belting them out with
vocals seemingly unearthed in the darkest corners of
America's cocktail lounges...a melodic vocalist in an era
when so many musicians scream the lyrics...a beat that's
a liberating departure from the confines of the original
songs...The word on cheese is spreading!"
--Paul Vercammen, CNN, 06/19/2001
(see complete story at
"This guy may be the best
lounge singer ever … or at least the best dressed"
--Chris Rubin, Desert Living Magazine, January 2006
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page)
"There is deep irony
found in turning obscure songs by groups like Slipknot, Disturbed, and Puddle of
Mudd, laced with raw emotion and explicit language, into innocuous fluff."
--Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, May 29, 2008
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page)
--Phoenix New Times, May 2005
Rat Pack...with a splash of Paul Shaffer thrown into the
--Chris Rubin, RollingStone.com, 12/18/2001
"Lounge has never been cheesier"
--New Times Broward-Palm Beach
(see complete interview on our INTERVIEWS page or
"Imitation Cheese: The Big Cover-Up"
Tribute bands are alive and well. Or at least alive.
This West Coast ivory tickler (his friends call him Dick
Cheese) delves into lounge versions of alt-rock's
greatest hits on his CD Lounge Against The Machine, from
a jazzy samba version of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer"
to a finger-snappin', Catskills-worthy take on the
Offspring's "Come Out and Play." It's the only
way we're able to listen to Limp Bizkit.
--Stuff Magazine, 04/01/2001
--Will Lee, Bass Player Extraordinaire, Late Show With
David Letterman, 11/12/2002
his voicemail message!) [ :43 MP3 628kb ]
warning: parental advisory, explicit word ]
"He's One Smooth, Satirical Cat"
--Lina Lecaro, The Los Angeles Times, 01/14/2001
Las Vegas Review Journal, 02/01/2002
"Swinging, schmaltzy pizazz"
--Washington City Paper, 12/07/2001
Enceladus Tiger Stripes Are Really Cubs -
The Cassini spacecraft has discovered the long, cracked features
dubbed "tiger stripes" on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus are very
young -- between 10 and 1,000 years young."
NASA Cassini Mission Report, 08/30/2005
"One of my favorite days of every
year is the day I get my first new Christmas CD release of the season. That was
yesterday this year when my good friend Richard Cheese sent me his latest album,
chock-full of 14 all-new swingin' holiday hits to make your season tight!
I love Christmas music, listen to it all year long, and have one iPod full of
nothing but. This one, 'Silent Nightclub' is a keeper. My favorites on the CD
are covers of 'Personal Jesus,' 'Christmastime Is Here' and maybe Dick's best
song ever, 'The Trees,' a re-invention of the classic song by Rush. 'Christmas
In Las Vegas' is a terrific new original song too.
Buy my friend Dick's new album. It's family-friendly and perfect for every
holiday gathering. Available in stores everywhere, on the website, and through
--Bean of the KROQ Kevin & Bean Show, 09/26/2006
--David Bauder, Associated Press, 04/11/2001
--The LA Weekly, 02/02/2001 (see review)
"This is great!"
--Bono, U2, 10/26/2000
--New Orleans Times-Picayune, 03/19/2003
"Tiene un mérito de
--Joan S. Luna, Mondosonoro, Febrero 2001 (see review)
"Le tout passé à la
moulinette muzak et chanté avec une voix de crooner de
--Olivier Briat, Ouirock.com, 2001 (see review)
"It's the perfect blend
of Cocktail Nation and Lost Generation"
--Dave Penkower, CDNOW.com, 11/06/00 (see review)
"I couldn't stop
--Possessed on-line, January 2001 (see review)
of many alterna-hits that
are guaranteed to blow the minds of your friends"
--Matt Pinfield, farmclub.com, 11/09/00
"A toe-tapping, knee-slapping
--Jason Schaefer-Valerius, Van Gogh's Ear, 2001
"Instead of finger-flipping
music, this is finger-snapping music!"
--Orange County Weekly, 11/08/00
"Call it underground
goes pop, call it alternative stealth lounge, call it the
funniest, most outrageous CD you've heard in years."
--Cosmik.com, December 2000
--Donna DeChristopher, Hits Magazine Daily
"This thing goes beyond
the elbow in the rib chuckle."
--Thrust Record Round-Up, February 2001 (see review)
--Dickie, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 10/17/00
"Lounge singing has
just gotten hipper"
--Nick, LaunchMedia.com, 10/11/00
"Five Stars for this
-- David Moye, Wireless Flash, 10/4/00
"Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer'
gets 'Lounge' treatment cut by Cheese"
-- Dr. Pance, NineInchNails.net, 9/22/00
-- Richard Cheese, Lounge singer, 9/1/00
And read these great reviews from
journalists around the world:
Music Picks - February 2-8, 2001
Richard Cheese at House Of Blues
by LINA LECARO
music may not be the titillating trend it once was, but
one enterprising performer refuses to let it die. Reared
on the effortless song stylings and swagger of the Rat
Pack, Richard Cheese is your classic Vegas vamp with a
mike in one hand and cocktail in the other - with one
content to simply croon classics of the Steve & Edie
variety, Cheese loungifies todays raunchiest rock
hits in unexpected, often ironic ways. Limp Bizkits
"Nookie" is a jazzy feel-good romantic ode,
while Nine Inch Nails "Closer" is a sweet-n-swingin
mambo thats especially whimsical in the refrain
"I wanna fuck you like an animal."
versions of these and other "classic songwriting
works" such as the Offsprings "Come Out
And Play," Blink 182s "Whats My Age
Again" and Papa Roachs "Last Resort"
(a staple on KROQs Kevin & Bean morning show)
can be heard on Cheeses recent release, "Lounge
Against The Machine" (Oglio Records), but see the
singer live for an experience thatll really make ya
melt. (Lina Lecaro)
LAS VEGAS SUN
Music - November 8-10, 2002
of Cheese is grate -- er, great"
For Las Vegas'
younger residents and visitors, the words "lounge
singer" generally evoke a quick, simple response:
The modern lounge sensation known as Richard Cheese,
leader of the group Lounge Against the Machine, doesn't
see it quite that way.
"I've never really noticed the word cheese being
anything other than my last name and a calcium-rich diary
product," Cheese deadpanned during a recent phone
Cheese has made it his mission to bring lounge music to
the masses, particularly younger audiences looking for
lounge sounds beyond Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
As its name would suggest, Lounge Against the Machine
performs and records modern hits, taking familiar
melodies and lyrics and layering them with is own blend
of ... well, Velveeta.
Just a few the 19 songs on "Tuxicity," the
group's latest album: Britney Spears' "Crazy,"
The White Stripes' "Fell in Love with a Girl,"
Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back," Weezer's
"Buddy Holly" and Cypress Hill's "Insane
in the Brian."
"We like to take the songs of the day that the kids
are listening to and swankify them," Cheese said.
"There are so many great songs out there and there
just aren't enough lounge singers doing the current
"The great songs of our time didn't stop in 1951.
There's a new golden age of songwriting out there. And it's
nice to carry that tiki torch to the next stage and the
Cheese and his band -- which includes pianist Bobby
Ricotta, bassist Gordon Brie and drummer Buddy Gouda --
perform Friday night at 10 at Venus Lounge at The
The charismatic singer prefers to keep his true identity
and the location of his residence under wraps.
"It would be like if you interviewed Superman -- you
wouldn't reveal that he was really Clark Kent," he
True enough, but since Cheese isn't exactly fighting
crime, we'll clue you in that it's not his real name.
Cheese did admit a certain desire to spend more time in
the nation's lounge capital.
"We're looking for a regular slot in Vegas. We'd
like to headline the Sands, the Desert Inn or the
Hacienda," Cheese said. "And I'm hoping to move
into Tony Curtis' estate."
Over the past few years, Cheese and his band have
developed something of a cult following, even appearing
on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly."
The act also inspired a "Lounge Against the Machine"
category on VH1's "Rock & Roll Jeopardy."
"I think we were even an Audio Daily Double, but I
try not to let that go to my head," Cheese said.
For information on Cheese's upcoming tour schedule, to
sample his music or buy his CDs, visit richardcheese.com.
RICHARD CHEESE is joined by
Maria "The Snake Babe" Gara and a Brazilian
Rainbow boa as he performs with his band Lounge Against
the Machine during party at The Joint at the Hard Rock
REVIEW FROM EDMONTON SUN
THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE MOON: The Best of Richard Cheese (Surfdog Records)
Generally speaking, novelty records in which a lounge singer performs rock 'n'
roll hits are funnier for the idea itself than for the actual listening.
OK, we get it! But while Paul Anka failed with Rock Swings by attempting
to be reverent and subtle and professional and heedless to the obvious joke of a
lounge lizard crooning Smells Like Teen Spirit, a Mr. Richard Cheese operates
under no such snobbish constraints. He covers deserving songs ranging from
Nirvana's Rape Me to Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice - and it is not subtle.
It's as obvious as limburger up your nose. Unrelenting schtick is the
order of the day here and - if you find the name "Dick Cheese" at all funny -
belly laughs will be the result. 3 1/2 out of 5
Gogh's Ear - CD Reviews - http://www.vangoghs-ear.com
RICHARD CHEESE Lounge Against the Machine
by Jason Schaefer-Valerius, 2001
of the funniest recordings in recent memory is Richard
Cheese and his lounge-lizard cohorts refashioning modern
rock hits in swanky styles Sinatra and the rest of the
"Rat Pack" would have been proud of. Nothing is
sacred in this all out assault on songs ranging from
Radioheads "Creep" to Nine Inch
Nails "Closer," and everything in between.
kick off in grand style with a hilarious send-up of Limp
Bizkits "Nookie" and "Break Stuff"
(in medley style), with the f-words all the more
lacerating in this musical context. Rage Against The
Machines "Guerilla Radio" explores
uncharted melodicism with a bossanova beat, and "Come
Out and Play" (Offspring) is pared-down swing for
martinis and cigarettes. Things take a decidedly demented
turn with "Closer," combining Sesame Street
piano with lyrics "I want to f**k you like an animal,"
and Nirvanas "Rape Me," opening with the
line, "[Here's one for] the ladies." Poor taste
aside, these are minor complaints for a CD which manages
to make you laugh about every two seconds. "Creep"
is the best; a toe-tapping, knee-slapping good time, full
of fake horn fills, while "Only Happy When it Rains"
(Garbage) features a backdrop containing a truly
inspiring tribute to Gene Kellys "Singin
In The Rain." "Smack My Bitch Up" (Prodigy)
and "The Rockafeller Skank" (Fatboy Slim)
receive less thought or commitment, yet the laughs remain
intact, even if for brief moments. Trust me; play this CD
and you WILL be the life of the party.
- Editorial Reviews - 2001
RICHARD CHEESE Lounge Against the Machine
by Fred Cisterna
Lounge Against the Machine, alt-rock hits get the Vegas
treatment way before their time. Vocalist Richard Cheese
and his piano trio really know how to warp a song. Rage
Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio" sounds
smooth as silk, if incredibly schmaltzy, in the hands of
this wayward lounge act. The Dead Kennedys' "Holiday
in Cambodia" gets completely defanged in Cheese's
rendition. And it's definitely strange to hear the rage
drained out of Nirvana's "Rape Me" and replaced
with bland, mindless enthusiasm. The tone of these covers
is so far removed from the originals that at times you
forget what you're really listening to. At moments like
these, Cheese and the boys sound like some anonymous
combo going through the motions. But then you'll hear the
singer let loose with some foul language or croon a harsh
line and it sounds downright strange and funny. Lounge
Against the Machine can be tiresome at times, but it
certainly takes the piss out of these songs.
AT THE SHORE, The Press Of Atlantic City
"Lounge Against the Machine," February 2001
BY ELAINE ROSE
since Pat Boone's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" has
good music been made to sound so bad. Richard Cheese
reworked 16 modern-rock hits into lounge-act songs that
sound, well, downright cheesy. This is still not your
grandmother's lounge music. This album doesn't have a
parental advisory sticker, but it should.
Cheese and some other wacky musicians gave a Big-Band
sound to hits like Limp Bizkit's "Nookie" and
Blink 182's "What's My Age Again." Check out a
few bars of the Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila"
inserted into a rendition of "Come Out and Play"
by the Offspring. Or listen to his opening to "Wrong
Way" by Sublime: "Waitress, I'll have a martini
with a twist of Sublime."
won't want to listen to this album more than twice. But
it is cleverly done and good for a laugh while tossing
down some brewskies with a few friends. It's also a great
CD to crank up on the stereo as a hint to your guests
that the party's over and it's time to go home.
- alternative/indie music review
Cheese "LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE"
by Dave Penkower
Staff Picks are personal recommendations from the music
collections of CDNOW's knowledgeable technical,
administrative, marketing, merchandising, customer
service, and managerial staff.
once in a great while, a CD comes along which makes you
want to shout, "Gimme a hunk 'o that there pepper
jack and to hell with the cracker!" Richard Cheese's
Lounge Against the Machine is just such
a set of "alternative standards" from groups
like Limp Bizkit, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead in a
variety of lounge styles, Mr. Cheese puts the angst in
listening to the disc, I must admit that I was unfamiliar
with most of the originals. Even so, the jokes work very
well on their own, mainly due to Mr. Cheese's clear, yet
stylized, enunciation of the profanity-laden lyrics that
are more usually slurred and buried under a wall of
distorted guitars. Of course, the Holiday Inn ® piano
bar instrumentation and intentionally simplistic solos of
the thematically surnamed band (Bobby Ricotta on piano)
don't hurt either. Well, actually, they do, but in a good
watching some of my more contemporary colleagues flat out
lose it over songs I didn't know, I had to get on to the
CDNOW site and seek out sound samples for all of the
tracks with which I was unfamiliar. I must say that the
stylistic contrasts are definitely pushed to the limit.
Highlights include the tender treatment of Sublime's
"Wrong Way," the sing-along section in Nirvana's
"Rape Me," and the band introductions in
Prodigy's once controversial, "Smack My Bitch Up."
mix yourself up a highball (or maybe a speedball) and
swing angrily to Lounge Against the Machine. It's the
perfect blend of Cocktail Nation and Lost Generation.
Penkower is a data analysis manager for CDNOW's Planning
and Analysis Department.
VINILOS, Febrero 2001
LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE (Oglio) - NEO-SWING
by JOAN S. LUNA
Tras gastarnos la panoja en infinidad de discos tributo,
discos de versiones y marcianadas por el estilo, hemos
llegado a la conclusión de que pocos, muy pocos, son
capaces de defenderse por si mismos, por lo que ofrecen
al margen de la inicial curiosidad que plantean. Bien,
pues lo que ha conseguido Richard Cheese tiene un mérito
de cojones. Porque combinando lounge y neo-swing, nuestro
hombre ha dado forma a uno de los más redondos e
indispensables discos de tributo de los últimos años.
Primero, porque las adaptaciones funcionan incluso
dejando a un lado los originales y porque Cheese nos hace
disfrutar de lo lindo con un trabajo redondo. Y en
segundo lugar, porque a excepción de un par de
obviedades, el estadounidense ha optado por echar mano -a
lo Weird Al Jankovic o Mike Flowers- de populares temas
alternativos. Así se marca versiones de auténticos hits
como "Last Resort" (Papa Roach), "What's
My Age Again" (Blink 182), "Creep" (Radiohead),
"Closer" (Nine Inch Nails), "Nookie/Break
Stuff" (Limp Bizkit) o "Bullet The Blue Sky"
(U2) y así hasta dieciséis, con una maestría, gracia y
unos resultados que provocan sonrisas, excitación y
todos mis elogios. Para pasarlo bien de verdad (aunque
tengan que tirar de internet). Joan S. Luna
REVIEW FROM BAD-TASTE (ITALY)
Richard Cheese, ovvero della musica con l'oliva nel
bicchiere Follia e swing.
Le mie rotule mi stanno guardando negli occhi.
Mi appoggio al banco, ansimando, ordino un altro
martini. Sorseggio e gorgheggio. I'm singing the end
of the world. Dissacrante genialità messa a servizio
della musica. Il movimento decolla subito bollente e
Ricotta, Brie, Gouda e il re Cheese (ci si interroga
però ancora su questi cognomi culinari e latticini...)
ci conducono nell'arte dello swing, con dosi
sprizzanti di ironia e divertimento.
Sedersi, ascoltare e ridere. O sciogliere le gambe e
gustarsi la sana dissacrazione di tante hit del rock
(più o meno) alternativo degli ultimi quindici anni.
Coordinate loungitudinali, of course. Di che cosa sto
parlando? Bene, chiudete gli occhi pensate a un pezzo
rock di quelli pesanti, cattivi, invettive sonore (qualche
suggerimento? i Radiohead di Creep, i Rage against
the machine con Guerrilla radio, gli storici Dead
Kennedys dei tempi di Holiday in Cambodia, solo per
citare alcuni nomi), ecco, adesso metteteli in uno
shaker con ghiaccio, martini, un contrabbasso che
odora di blues, e quanto basta di swing e otterrete
proprio ciò che io sto ascoltando ora, ovvero
Richard Cheese e il suo album "Lounge against
Non vi basta? Allora alzate il volume, ridete di
tutto e tutti e pensate agli Offspring (quelli di
Smash, più duri e puri rispetto alle canzonette che
suonano ora) e metteteli in giacca luccicante a
suonare in un jazz club, su ritmi con richiami latini,
e le vostre ginocchia si scioglieranno e sorriderete.
Sì, non c'è che dire. Quando la gente che ci sa
fare ci si mette, i risultati (al di là dei gusti
personali) sono sempre decisamente interessanti. So
che si parla di lounge, cocktail music,
intrattenimento, va bene, ma fatto con la giusta dose
di senno, citazioni (sentite il parlato di Creep) e
conoscenza della musica.
Geniale, direi. E a volte s'inserisce l'impressione
che alcuni pezzi siano molto più irriverenti, più
punk, nel senso radicale del termine, rispetto agli
originali (sto pensando al pezzo dei Blink 182 e a
quello dei Limp Bizkit - eh, sì, ci sono anche loro
- che ci vengono riproposti).
A proposito degli originali: conoscerli è la chiave
necessaria per apprezzare appieno il lavoro di
scomposizione e riarrangiamento messo in atto dal
quartetto capeggiato da Richard Cheese, e cogliere il
gioco che c'è tra i pezzi originali e queste
Forse nulla più di un gioco, appunto, ma proprio
questo ci suggerisce uno sguardo ironico e quasi
sarcastico sul mondo musicale contemporaneo.
Peccato che siano solo trentacinque minuti di musica,
ma chissà che sorprese ci riserva Mr Cheese per il
Swing e follia.
DI FORMAGGIO DAL GUSTO RAFFINATO E DAL PROFUMO
PENETRANTE E PIUTTOSTO DIFFICILE DA REPERIRE
NEI NEGOZI DI DISCHI FIGURATEVI DAL VOSTRO SALUMIERE
WE BEEN ON THE
RADIO IN RUSSIA!
WE'RE OK IN
REVIEW FROM BUTLAND
Cheese / Lounge Against The Machine
Sure, it's a joke, but as Les Nessman so eloquently
put it, "it's darn funny, too." Mr. Cheese
and his compatriots, Gordon Brie (strings and strums),
Buddy Gouda (sticks and skins), and Bobby Ricotta (charts
and ivories) have recast some of the hot, happening,
wacky agit-rock hits that the kids are grooving to
today from acts like Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit,
Sublime, Nirvana, Prodigy, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Papa Roach, as finger-popping lounge jazz. It's hep
enough to bring Bill Murray back to a Holiday Inn at
any major airport. You've never heard "motherfucker"
enunciated so clearly, and "I Want to fuck you
like an animal" has never been funnier. The
sheer inanity and spoiled brat petulance of many of
the lyrics is exposed - The Beastie's "Fight For
Your Right" (included here) sounds like
Shakespeare compared to most of the sentiments. And
the paucity of memorable music forces Mr. Cheese and
his comrades to invent melodies to go with many of
the tracks, but then a nice samba or mambo is what
much of this stuff is crying out for, believe it or
not. The smarmy liner notes are the perfect cherry on
top of this musical cheesecake. - John F. Butland
REVIEW FROM CORNELL DAILY SUN
Rock music is dead, or at least it is gasping on its deathbed. Sunny Side
of the Moon collects eighteen omens of its demise. Richard Cheese is a
doomsday prophet, the lunatic from old sci-fi movies who stands on the street
holding a placard that forecasts the apocalypse and gets laughed at for an hour
until he turns out to be right.
Cheese's ironic lounge lizard renditions of hit rock songs do not impose an
external vision on the originals; instead, they reveal a latent corruption in
the songs themselves. Even Nine Inch Nails' brilliant sadomasochist
parable "Closer" and Radiohead's self-pity anthem "Creep" seem to have realized
their actual potential on Sunny Side.
Rockers have long pretended that from Led Zeppelin to Dave Matthews, there is
something rebellious and genuine about rock, in opposition to styles like Las
Vegas lounge music. Well watch out, sinners, judgment day is coming!
Here comes Saint Dick, bringing the gospel. Preach, brother, preach.
LISTENER REVIEWS FROM
THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE MOON CD
Smooth as Fondue, Sharp as Cheddar! (posted February 2006)
Reviewer: Aaron, Davis, CA
If you have other Cheese discs (or "platters"), it may be confusing to see "Best
of" described as "11 new songs." Cheese has swankified seven songs from earlier
discs (mostly from the relatively Spartan first album), and added four
completely new songs. The big band versions jam! The band *pops*
airily and swoops with dramatic weight, like your first sip of Seven and Seven!
And Cheese shows his range; from the crowd rousing Rape Me ("Everybody, put your
hands together!"), to the hauntingly :-) reductive Another Brick in the Wall, to
a heartfelt plunge into cliche with Badd (his funniest yet). No one commits like
Dick! Cheese triumphs with brilliant phrasing, out-of-nowhere jazzy off-notes
and pauses, and "mock" sincerity you just can't help but buy into, etc.
Sid Vicious sang My Way like a panther full of napalm, and Frank liked it
(true). Richard Cheese returns the favor -- with swanky pizazz! And bonus --
Sunny Side of the Moon was made for hi-fi!
LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
cool, quite funny, not too cheesy (posted
Reviewer: RJKJ, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United
This album is just amazing. The concept of the album
is that singer Richard Cheese and his band take a
bunch of well known alternative rock songs and cover
them in the style of a lounge/ swing jazz band. It
may sound very cheesy (sorry about the pun), but most
of the songs are played straight and the way the
songs make a perfect transition to this genre just
highlights the quality of the originals. This sort of
thing has been done several times before (e.g. Moog
Cookbook, Pat Boone's metal covers album) but this is
the most successful and entertaining. Obviously those
without a sense of humour will hate this but I would
recommend any open-minded rock fan to buy this
because it's both funny and professionally done.
LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
Very Funny (posted October 2000)
Reviewer: LK, Downey, CA
I first heard of "Richard Cheese" on the Mr.
KABC show. Cheese expressed his motivation to produce
this album was to take advantage of this golden era
of lyric writing that we are now living. Meaning that
he wanted to bring the lyrics of popular rock
alternative songs that would not be listened to by
the average adult, and re-arrange them in a way that
would be easier to listen to. Though lounge music has
seen it's heyday, most adults wouldn't be opposed to
sitting back his Cheese's album and a "vodka
martini with a twist of Sublime" In my humble
opinion, Cheese met his goal and seemed to have fun
doing it. Excellent concept. Well done, Cheese!!!
LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
greatest cheese for the buck (posted October
Reviewer: RL, Westville, NJ USA
While this disc is in no ways imaginative or
musically innovative, it is easily worth the cash as
a memento of the years when an unhappy clash of
cultures came to a head. Richard Cheese's mix of
today's unimaginative alterna-pop and equally
unimaginative retro-lounge act is a beautiful
ridicule of both form and content. In many ways,
"Lounge Against the Machine" is more
effective than recent pop-spoof acts (ala Weird Al)
as it captures the ludicrous nature of the song by
keeping the original lyrics and simply changing the
context. This is ever-so-poignant in his rendition of
Sublime's "The Wrong Way" and his often
tasteless cover of Nirvana's "Rape Me." At
the same time, the contrast of Cheese's happy-go-lucky
lounge act with lyrics of rape, prostitution,
violence and murder strikes at the tradition of a
lounge culture used to pushing kitsch to an extreme.
"Lounge Against the Machine" is, at its
essence, a stark portrayal of a society stuck between
a horribly self-righteous discontent and a painfully
|LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE CD
A "Letter" from "Bill Murray"
Dear Music Fan:
Please do not support this "Lounge Against The Machine" album.
Richard Cheese (not his real name) has totally ripped off my classic
nightclub singer bit from Saturday Night Live, and I am thoroughly
outraged by this blatant infringement of my Emmy-award-winning
intellectual property. In fact, I'm gonna sue that weasel.
I wholly condemn and denounce this project; I don't even want my
name associated with it. And by the way, I didn't even write this
letter, it's just a completely fakey scam.
P.S. That's not my signature, either!
Damn you, Cheese!